November 28, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 32

Defeat of Spokane County Proposition 1 leaves many questions

Measure to buy mobile home parks in Fairchild Accident Potential Zone had enough votes to be brought forward again

Voters turned down Spokane County Proposition 1 on Tuesday, Nov. 5, defeating it by 51.2 percent, leaving many questions hanging in the balance.

Proposition 1 would have raised $18 million in property taxes over nine years to buy mobile home parks in Accident Potential Zone Two, an identified encroachment to Fairchild Air Force Base. Residents living in the area would have been relocated and the parks demolished, allowing the land to be transformed for industrial use.

Without those funds, however, there won’t be much action taken.

The ballot item was defeated 56,594 to 59,315, with 5,206 under votes. Prior to Election Day, endorsements came from the Spokane City Council, board of Spokane County Commissioners and other jurisdictions throughout the region. Others, like the Medical Lake City Council, chose a neutral path by not entertaining a motion regarding the issue. Some jurisdictions had questions on what would happen with sales tax generated by the property once it was converted for industrial use.

While the proposition’s fate was still in question, Commissioner Al French said there were enough votes in its favor to bring it forward again at a future date.

Airway Heights Mayor Patrick Rushing and Spokane County Commissioners believed the full $18 million wasn’t required to purchase the property, but factored in potential contingency efforts from the park owners.

Earlier this year, Airway Heights and the county were successful in obtaining $2 million from the state to purchase some of the stick-built homes in the area, helping to reduce the density by a little. Most of the area’s residents, however, live in the mobile home parks.

Voters in Medical Lake, Cheney and Airway Heights approved of the measure, but it failed in other rural parts of the county.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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